The Scotch-Irish - A Book Review
I've traced my family tree and, as best I can determine, most of my stock here in America was of Scotch-Irish heritage.
Although ancestral to millions of Americans living today, especially in the southern part of the United States, the Scotch-Irish remain a hazy mystery to many people, even people with an interest in history. Who were they, exactly? How did they differ from the unhyphenated Scotch and the just-plain-Irish? Was their history in America in any significant way at odds with other settlers from the British Isles, or from Europe at large for that matter?
Although first published in 1962, James G. Leyburn's The Scotch-Irish, A Social History remains the definitive work on this group. Kept in print by the University of North Carolina, it belongs on the bookshelf of anyone who has Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish) ancestors, or who has an interest in the various streams of people who contributed to the American experience.
The book is divided into three sections.
The first examines the Scotch-Irish in their original home in Scotland, before they added an Irish component to their identity.
The second section treats of their removal to Ireland and the events and influences that shaped them during their stay in that country.
The third section describes their migrations to America and their dispersal into and through the backcountry, particularly Pennsylvania and the states of the South.
Leyburn tells an enthralling story, one which had not been fully or accurately told before the publication of this seminal work. No history of the settling of America would be complete that did not draw upon its insights into the people now known to us as the Scotch-Irish.
The Scotch-Irish; A Social History is published by The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; ISBN # 0-8078-4259-1.